Unbelievable: An Apologetics Book Available for Free for a Limited Period of Time



I am going to say something that many people will not immediately accept, and I fully imagine that I will catch grief for saying it. But here it goes:

People are constantly spreading untruths about Christianity.

I know, I know. For some readers this is a real shocker. They have been told by other non-Christians certain “truths” about God, the Bible and Christianity, and they had no reason to believe that they were untrue. I mean, c’mon, we all know that Christopher Columbus proved that the Earth was really round to the stunned disbelief of the anti-science, flat-earth believing Church, right? Except that it isn’t what happened at all.

The new resource is from Dr. Michael Newton Keas, who earned a PhD in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma, presently serves as an adjunct professor of the history and philosophy of science at Biola University, and who is a senior fellow of Discovery Institute. Dr. Keas has made available for free his book, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. The book deals with the historical lies (what Dr. Keas graciously calls “myths”) about Christianity and the Bible. The introduction of the book gives a flavor for what is to come as follows:
The first six myths relate to the history of science and religion. The seventh is subtly connected to the six historical myths but imagines a future far removed from what we know today.

Myth #1: Premodern scholars in the Western tradition thought the universe was small—a cozy little place just for human benefit. Modern science displaced this Church-sanctioned belief with a vast cosmos that revealed humans to be insignificant.

The truth: Even ancient thinkers recognized that the earth was tiny in relation to the immense cosmos. In any case, size doesn’t necessarily mean significance, as many theologians and philosophers recognized.

Myth #2: The medieval Catholic Church suppressed the growth of science, causing Europe to descend into the “Dark Ages.”

The truth: The medieval Catholic Church positively influenced science and other intellectual pursuits. There were no “Dark Ages.”

Myth #3: Because of Church-induced ignorance, European intellectuals believed in a flat earth until Columbus proved earth’s roundness in 1492.

The truth: Ancient and medieval intellectuals in the Western tradition had many evidence-based reasons for belief in earth’s roundness.

Myth #4: Giordano Bruno became a martyr for science when the Catholic Church burned him at the stake because he supported Nicolaus Copernicus’s contention that the sun, not the earth, occupied the center of the universe, and because he believed in extraterrestrial life.

The truth: Bruno’s execution occurred almost entirely for theological reasons, not scientific ones.

Myth #5: The Church jailed Galileo Galilei because it rejected his telescopic observations and rational arguments that had proved the Copernican system.

The truth: Most early modern astronomers up through the mid-seventeenth century resisted a moving earth primarily for scientific, not theological, reasons. Galileo failed to prove that earth orbited the sun (that came later).

Myth #6: Copernicus demoted humans from the privileged “center of the universe” and thereby challenged religious doctrines about human importance.

The truth: Copernicus (a canon in the Catholic Church) and most of his scientific successors up through the nineteenth century considered his sun-centered astronomy to be compatible with Christianity and human exceptionalism. In fact, early Copernicans viewed earth’s new location not as a demotion for humanity but rather as a promotion, out of the bottom of the universe.

Myth #7: If and when we encounter extraterrestrial life, it will deal the death blow to certain religions, especially Christianity, with its doctrine of the unique incarnation and redemptive work of God’s Son on earth. Any ET capable of traveling a vast distance to earth would have superintelligence, technology indistinguishable from magic, and moral-spiritual insights that would trigger global religious reorientation.

The truth: Many Christian thinkers have been open to the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and neither a single pope nor a major church council ever declared these ideas heretical. ET and Christianity are potentially compatible.
I have not yet read this book, so I cannot tell you for certain that it is high quality, but If you, like me, enjoy reading books that looks to strip away the sheen of myth (using the nice word) that has come to be associated with Christianity, this book looks very promising – and I have rarely found anything published by a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute to be anything less than well-researched and well-written.

Most importantly for those of us living on a budget, this new resource has become available for free if you are a member of Academia.edu. (Of course, there is no reason not to become a member since there is no fee to sign up to receive access to thousands of papers on a wide range of academic topics.) It is also available on the Kindle edition through Amazon.com for a limited time.

I encourage everyone who find the topic interesting to take the time to download it now. I don’t know how long these books will be available for the incredibly low cost of free, so I encourage everyone to take advantage of this offer now.

Comments

Anonymous said…
BK: Even ancient thinkers recognized that the earth was tiny in relation to the immense cosmos. ...

No argument about most of your comments, but this one is dubious. By ancient thinkers, I assume you mean from classic times, up to the fall of Rome, say? Is there any evidence of anyone from that time believing the earth was not the centre of the universe or that the stars were comparable to the sun in size? I have never heard of such a thing.

Only more widely, I would recommend my fellow atheists look no further than modern creationism to see how religion stifles knowledge and science. In the dark ages, it was only really the clergy who were educated at all.

Pix
BK said…
First, the language you are responding to is quoted directly from the book, not my comment. So, you can read the book and see if he gives an answer to your questions.

Second, your view of modern creationism is pretty stifled. There are modern creationists working in all branches of science.

Not sure that your final comment about the dark ages (a term which several historians state is inaccurate of the time) is particularly relevant because during that time the economic forces led virtually everyone to be focused on surviving day to day. The church did not say people should not be educated. In fact, it was the church that set up the few universities that existed which shows that the church wanted people to be educated. You should read James Hannan's book on the subject. https://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-book-sets-recoard-stragight-on-role.html
BK said…
Whoops, that should be Hannam, not Hannan.
Anonymous said…
BK: First, the language you are responding to is quoted directly from the book, not my comment. So, you can read the book and see if he gives an answer to your questions.

Good point. The author seems to mean medieval, which is not what I would call ancient in the technical sense.

BK: Second, your view of modern creationism is pretty stifled. There are modern creationists working in all branches of science.

Sure, there is a pretty well known geologist, who publishes papers that assume an old earth in his day job, then spouts nonsense about the planet being 6000 years old when he gets home.

nevertheless, I think it is pretty clear that creationist is a force against science. Several organisations have statements of faith that say the Bible trumps evidence, for example. the so-called Wedge document has a stated aim of:

Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.

BK: ...The church did not say people should not be educated. ...

Actually I was saying something position about the church in the dark ages.

Pix
BK said…
No, it is not pretty clear that creationism is a "force against science". While I am not a creationist (I favor Intelligent Design), I understand what the modern creationists are saying. They don't oppose science, they oppose the underlying materialistic limitations that some scientists put on science.

And there is nothing wrong with the quoted paragraph. It is exactly what I believe. Now, you can read more into it than it says, but what it says is a legitimate goal that is completely in line with science (just not scientific materialism).
Jesse said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
BK said…
Hello Jesse, we will look at your blog and see if we can add it to the blogroll. Be aware, Blogger only allows so many blogs on the roll, and all of our spaces are filled. We will need to remove a blog in order to add yours, and we have relationships with the other blogs that have built up over years. But we do appreciate your reading and your blog (on first glance) looks interesting. If we don't add it, please understand it is more due to lack of room than anything else. But I will see if you have something that I can link to through a post in the near future.
Anonymous said…
BK: No, it is not pretty clear that creationism is a "force against science".

The foundation of creationism is we should ignore evidence where it contradicts our sacred text. That is very much anti-science because it is opposed to the basic principle of science.

I appreciate creationism likes some science, but it has that in common with all sorts of quackery. I am sure astrologers like some bits of science, for example - bits that do not coincide with their own brand of nonsense.

BK: While I am not a creationist (I favor Intelligent Design)...

I thought that pretence had been abandoned now. The Discovery Institute has become more and more open about its creationism recently. Seriously, in what way are you, a Christian, in favour of ID but not a creationist? Do you think life was designed, but not created by God?

BK: While I am not a creationist (I favor Intelligent Design), I understand what the modern creationists are saying. They don't oppose science, they oppose the underlying materialistic limitations that some scientists put on science.

Right! They love the benefits of science - all those great material goods like mobile phones and the convenience of supermarkets, just as Jesus did. But they object to the principles that got them, such as methodological naturalism. They want the text of their holy book to take precedence over reality.

BK: And there is nothing wrong with the quoted paragraph. It is exactly what I believe. Now, you can read more into it than it says, but what it says is a legitimate goal that is completely in line with science (just not scientific materialism).

What it says is that anyone should be allowed to say what is science and what is not. You want the supernatural to be science? No problem!

If you are a creationist, you should be allowed to say that creationism is science, despite the evidence otherwise. If you are an astrologer, you should be allowed to say that astrology is science, despite the evidence otherwise. Michael Behe was forced to admit this about astrology on the witness stand at Dover by the way.

In real science, a hypothesis has to be well supported by evidence. In the science you advocate, that is no longer the case, and science is just whatever we want to be. You want to sell snake oil? No problem, just declare it works, and ignore the evidence that it kills more people than it helps. It is science because you want it to be. Right?

Pix
BK said…
"The foundation of creationism is we should ignore evidence where it contradicts our sacred text." - Wrong. I know that what you think, but that's because you probably have never interacted with a real creationist.

The rest of your comment is so ridiculous to not warrant a further response. This comment thread is done.
Jesse said…
This comment has been removed by the author.

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